This proposal describes a five year training program for an academic career in cancer health services and comparative effectiveness research with an emphasis on urologic oncology and radiotherapy. I am an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, a member of the Abramson Cancer Center and a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Clinically, I specialize in the treatment of prostate cancer (PCa). The unifying theme of my research is to generate evidence needed to support my patients'treatment decisions, thereby addressing the essential purpose of comparative effectiveness research (CER). I have completed an NCI F32 mentored research fellowship and now will expand my scientific skills through additional training in state-of-the-art statistical and econometric methods to estimate causal association in observational comparative effectiveness studies and decision-analytic approaches to prioritizing research designs. My long-term goal is to develop a career as an independent, grant-funded physician-investigator focused on advancing cancer comparative effectiveness research. The career development program outlined in this application contains formal mentorship, didactic coursework, and seminars structured around three methodological areas: 1) econometrics and decision analysis;2) biostatistics for causal inference;and 3) cancer comparative effectiveness. I have assembled an interdisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania who are highly committed to my career development and will provide the expertise required to complete this proposal. The mentorship team will be directed by Katrina Armstrong, MD, MSCE. I will enroll in the Masters of Science Program in Health Policy Research, designed to prepare graduates for independent careers in health services research and jointly sponsored by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. Coursework will include instruction in econometrics/causal inference, decision analysis, value-of-information techniques, and clinical trials. These didactic courses will be complemented by independent study, seminars and small group sessions attended by an interdisciplinary group of health services researchers, economists, biostatisticians, epidemiologists, and physicians. The overall research goal of this Career Development Award is to examine the contribution of observational studies to the evidence gaps in external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) treatment for PCa. I will start by comparing results from an observational study to that of a clinical trial for question where randomized evidence is available, but will add evidence as to the relative effectiveness of EBRT across important subgroups in this population. I will then conduct two observational studies of EBRT, one focused on mortality and the other on morbidity, addressing questions for which there is no randomized evidence. Finally, with an interest in focusing the limited resources available for large studies on the evidence gaps of greatest value, I will incorporate these estimates into innovative value-of-information (VOI) models to explore the optimal research design for a future study of proton beam therapy (PBT) for PCa. The primary data source for this research is the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database, a population-based source of information about patients 65 years and older with cancer. Based on our preliminary work, we estimate that the analytic cohorts will include a combined 111,000 patients with non-metastatic PCa diagnosed between 1995 and 2007, all followed through 2009. The secondary data source will be the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), in which we will explore outcomes in men under 65 years of age. The scientific community at the University of Pennsylvania is outstanding and will provide the necessary resources to support my career development and the aims of this research proposal. The resources of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, the Department of General Internal Medicine, and the Department of Radiation Oncology provide a unique intellectual environment in which to train in innovative research methods for comparative effectiveness. These collaborations help to deepen understanding of the practical effects of clinical and policy decisions and ensure multiple viewpoints and perspectives are incorporated into health services research. Over 1.1 million men will be diagnosed with PCa in the next five years, the vast majority with localized disease. There are daunting gaps in evidence about the effectiveness of EBRT treatments. With PCa costs exceeding $12 billion per year and growing PCa mortality and morbidity as the US population ages, PCa comparative effectiveness research has the potential to impact public health. Thus, this proposal has strong clinical relevance. Through this award, I will leverage important new skills in advanced health services research methods to become an independent, grant-funded physician-scientist.

Public Health Relevance

We examine the contribution of observational studies to the body of evidence for prostate cancer (PCa) radiotherapy. Using traditional-regression based adjustment and instrumental variable methods, we address the difficult problem of selection bias in PCa comparative effectiveness research, with an emphasis on estimating treatment effects for important patient subgroups and evaluating results in light of benchmark RCT evidence. We develop value-of-information models to explore the optimal research design for a future comparative effectiveness study of proton beam therapy.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Type
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
Project #
5K07CA163616-03
Application #
8701251
Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Program Officer
Perkins, Susan N
Project Start
2012-08-16
Project End
2017-07-31
Budget Start
2014-08-01
Budget End
2015-07-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$174,960
Indirect Cost
$12,960
Name
University of Pennsylvania
Department
Radiation-Diagnostic/Oncology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
042250712
City
Philadelphia
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
19104
Fang, Penny; Mick, Rosemarie; Deville, Curtiland et al. (2015) A case-matched study of toxicity outcomes after proton therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Cancer 121:1118-27
Jagsi, Reshma; Bekelman, Justin E; Chen, Aileen et al. (2014) Considerations for observational research using large data sets in radiation oncology. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 90:11-24
Swisher-McClure, Samuel; Mitra, Nandita; Woo, Kaitlin et al. (2014) Increasing use of dose-escalated external beam radiation therapy for men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 89:103-12
Martin, Jeffrey M; Handorf, Elizabeth A; Kutikov, Alexander et al. (2014) The rise and fall of prostate brachytherapy: use of brachytherapy for the treatment of localized prostate cancer in the National Cancer Data Base. Cancer 120:2114-21
Swisher-McClure, Samuel; Mitra, Nandita; Lin, Alexander et al. (2014) Risk of fatal cerebrovascular accidents after external beam radiation therapy for early-stage glottic laryngeal cancer. Head Neck 36:611-6
Bekelman, Justin E; Sylwestrzak, Gosia; Barron, John et al. (2014) Uptake and costs of hypofractionated vs conventional whole breast irradiation after breast conserving surgery in the United States, 2008-2013. JAMA 312:2542-50
DuGoff, Eva H; Bekelman, Justin E; Stuart, Elizabeth A et al. (2014) Surgical quality is more than volume: the association between changing urologists and complications for patients with localized prostate cancer. Health Serv Res 49:1165-83
Kalbasi, Anusha; Swisher-McClure, Samuel; Mitra, Nandita et al. (2014) Low rates of adjuvant radiation in patients with nonmetastatic prostate cancer with high-risk pathologic features. Cancer 120:3089-96
Bekelman, Justin E; Epstein, Andrew J; Emanuel, Ezekiel J (2014) Getting the next version of payment policy "right" on the road toward accountable cancer care. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 89:954-7
Bekelman, Justin E; Asch, David A; Tochner, Zelig et al. (2014) Principles and reality of proton therapy treatment allocation. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 89:499-508

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